NATO Military Committee (September 16)

Training mission will not stabilize Iraq

On the occasion of the meeting of the NATO Military Committee on September 16, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) warns that the training mission for the Iraqi armed forces will not be enough to stabilize the country: “If NATO really wants to stabilize Iraq, it would be necessary to repress the influence of Iraq and Turkey,” warned Tabea Giesecke, STP expert on ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities and nationalities. “It is especially the Christians, Yazidis, and Kurds who are suffering because of the activities of Teheran-led militias and the Turkish attacks.”

Currently, the NATO Mission Iraq (NMI) comprises several hundred troops from various NATO states – including Australia, Finland, and Sweden. The aim is to strengthen the Iraqi security forces and institutions to enable them to prevent a return of the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) themselves, to fight terrorism, and to stabilize the country. In February 2021, the respective Ministers of Defense had agreed on an expansion of the NMI – as requested by the Iraqi government.

“In this context, it is absurd that Turkey, as a NATO-member, is at the same time stepping up its drone attacks on Kurdish settlement areas. This is causing civilian deaths,” Giesecke pointed out. “NATO will not be able to stabilize Iraq as long as one of its members keeps attacking the country.” Further, Iran continues to expand its influence – using Shiite militias that operate independently from the Iraqi government. “As long as Iraq is merely a pawn in the hands of foreign powers, military training will not improve the situation,” Giesecke added. The people of Iraq will not feel safe again until the attacks from abroad are stopped. Also, the ethnic and religious minorities of the region will then be able to live in peace again.”